CSA Catapult wins DER funding to accelerate product development for Net Zero manufacturing technology

Date: 15.11.2023

CSA Catapult wins DER funding

Compound Semiconductor Applications (CSA) Catapult will play a central role in developing products essential to the UK’s transition to a Net Zero economy through funding from the Driving the Electric Revolution (DER) Power Electronics, Machines and Drives (PEMD) Scale Up competition.
CSA Catapult will collaborate on two projects, which were announced at CENEX-LCV 2023, to deliver next-generation thermal management and supply chain resilience in packaging for PEMD devices.

The first project, POWERDRIVE: Novel POWER moDule aRchItecture for cost effectiVE PEMD manufacture, will see CSA Catapult collaborate with Dycotec Materials to develop a 3D printing process to improve the performance and reliability, and significantly reduce the cost, of packages and modules for automotive applications.

The second project, Lignin thermal devices for automotive power electronics, will see CSA Catapult and Carbon Forest Products produce a feasibility study on a 3D graphite heat sink—a key component used to move heat away from an electronic device—for use in automotive systems.

Using renewable carbon-based graphite to produce heat sinks will contribute to reaching Net Zero goals by 2050 and provide industry with a sustainable alternative to copper and aluminium at a time when mined copper resources are due to capacity.


A realistic scene of electric cars charging at a station. One vehicle is fully visible, while the other has a semi-transparent overlay showing internal components like the battery and electrical wiring. The backdrop features a modern building and a tree casting shadows. - CSA Catapult

As the South West and Wales DER Industrialisation Centre (DER-IC), CSA Catapult helps build world-class capability in PEMD technology across the UK and supports progress towards the UK government’s Net Zero targets.

The funding, the final competition from DER, saw 12 projects awarded a total of £5.8 million to scale up PEMD. The award will advance UK capability in Net Zero manufacturing, increase UK industrial resilience and provide investment for important semiconductor technologies.

Venn Chesterton, Deputy Challenge Director of the Driving the Electric Revolution Challenge at Innovate UK said:

“This competition is great for the UK’s Net Zero ambitions as it will ensure that we manufacture more solutions to the Net Zero challenges in the UK. It showcases the commitment of the Driving the Electric Revolution Challenge to invest in the supply chain and manufacturing capability which will underpin growth in several key industries.

“I’m particularly proud of how well the investment sits alongside the continued support for the UK semiconductor industry, through the National semiconductor strategy and the critical minerals community, through the CLIMATES programme.”


“We’re delighted to work with Dycotec Materials and Carbon Forest Products on these collaborative projects to advance Net Zero manufacturing technology. These important projects will utilise the opportunity to deliver next generation thermal performance in the UK and build supply chain resilience for power electronic packaged devices.”

Paul Jarvie, DER-IC Lead at CSA Catapult

“The POWERDRIVE project will radically simplify the production of power modules by developing an entirely additive process to replace direct-bonded copper (DBC), printed circuit board (PCB) and thermal interface material components.

“The materials developed, including high voltage breakdown dielectrics, printed conductive metallisation layers and die attach, will lead to significant cost reduction in power module production.

“This project supports Dycotec’s ambitions to become a global leader in the development and manufacture of printed electronic materials. The portfolio of materials developed will supplement Dycotec’s existing range of materials for semiconductor application including thick film cermet pastes, a range of thermal interface materials and conductive adhesives.”

Dr Richard Dixon Founder and Managing Director at Dycotec Materials

“The use of renewable carbon based graphite to produce thermal management devices will help the PEMD industry in its objective of reaching Net Zero by 2050 as well as provide the PEMD industry with a sustainable alternative to copper and aluminium at a time when mined copper resources will reach supply capacity within a few years.

“Carbon Forest Products’ ambition is to become a trusted and reliable supplier of renewable and Net Zero additive manufactured carbon-carbon composite solutions into the PEMD market. This project supports this ambition through the credible application identification, product analysis and on ramping into industrial partnerships provided by the Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult.”

Patrick Morris, Founder and CEO at Carbon Forest Products Ltd

CSA Catapult is establishing advanced 3D printing capabilities, unique to the UK, which carry out multi-material, metal, and ceramic 3D packages, heat sinks, and embedded packaging.

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